Throwing a Party with +50 Guests

I was terrible about snapping pictures at Kyle’s 30th birthday party, but if you followed along on Snapchat you may have seen a few quick moments from the event. A few weeks ago I threw K a party and invited over 75 people. Roughly 50 to 60 showed up.

Only after I counted all the “yes” RSVPs did I realize that this party was going to be the size of a small wedding reception. (Whoops. ) I’m no stranger to throwing large parties, but it’s still a pretty daunting task. Just in case you were wondering, here’s how I did it and here’s how it went!

I made a Facebook event about 4-5 weeks in advance. While I love paper invites and prefer them 100xs over any kind of e-vite, FB was the way to cut costs and get the word out quickly.

We had the party in the company warehouse. Thank God for K’s employees Jake, Jordan, and K’s dad Jeff*. Together the five of us cleaned, rearranged, and set up the open space on Friday before the party. (It’s our slow-ish season so we were able to take a day and deep clean/set up.)

(* We only hire people with J names obviously, lol.)

This is how the warehouse typically looks. We cleaned and put everything in its place.

I sure wish I had an “after” photo. *facepalm* Anyway, we converted two of the workbenches into a salsa and taco bar and then set up another mobile workbench with the cakes (one decorated vanilla on vanilla and one yellow with chocolate frosting) and drinks (margaritas, beer, water).

We trailer-ed in three picnic tables and two long folding tables from my parents house for dining. We borrowed two sets of cornhole boards from my aunt and uncle, we borrowed a large backyard Jenga set from friends, and we set out Blockus, Twister, and domino men for the kids to play with. (Turns out the 2 to 4 year olds loved the domino men, I ended up playing Blockus at 12:45am, and no one touched Twister.)

We have a 20′ x 20′ tile carpet area that we use in the booth at trade shows so we broke it out for a seating area complete with couches, chairs, a TV and Wii system, and the little kids area. My brother-in-law also brought his Nintendo Switch for the teens/adults to use. And we definitely did.

I’m getting a little bit better about asking for help/delegating. My mother-in-law brought the margaritas and some queso dip. (Thank you!) My grandma and my mom made some cookies. (Thank you!) And K’s aunt, dad, and mom were on call when I needed anything. (Thank you!) The party would not have gone so smoothly without them.

I made a “baby chalkboard” for Kyle, I bought “3-0” balloons, and I hung a happy birthday banner for the event. Other than some table cloths and fabric to cover the warehouse mess, there wasn’t much decorating.

I made 20lbs. of beef, chopped 14 onions & 15 tomatoes, and bought 180 tacos (100 soft, 80 hard), four large bags of cheese, and 10 small bags of shredded lettuce. Also, I got 3 large jars of salsa, some store-bought guac, and 6 bags of tortilla chips. To be honest, we had WAY too much onion and tomato, but I only had 1/4 of the beef left over which impressed me. I could’ve cut the cheese and lettuce inventory in half, but who knew. I provided taco lunches for the warehouse guys in the days following the party.

All that remained of the party on Monday…

Our party started at 4pm and we had a steady flow of people all night. Some even left (and dropped off a kid or spouse) and came back. We invited family and friends and friends of the family, ha. Overall, we had a fantastic time 🙂 Our last guests left around 1:30am. I was so exhausted.

Seeing all our friends and family was fun, although I think I will request a vacation for my 30th birthday 😉 What are some fun things you’ve done for “monumental” birthdays?

Add It To My (Media) List

I had no idea what to list off this month. Usually I have a draft with a running list of favorites that I add to throughout the month, but I didn’t do that this time. As time was running out I happened to stumble across three short (very different) online clips that captured my attention.

life_as_louise_favorites

I assume that everyone needs a mental break throughout the workday, so hopefully one or two of these videos can provide that today.

James Corden’s Crosswalk the Musical: Beauty & the Beast

I don’t know why this made me laugh as hard as it did. I blame Dan Stevens (and the fact that I still have trouble see him as anyone but Matthew Crawley.)


Emma Watson’s kitten interview

If I ever have kids I hope they see Emma Watson as a role model. I certainly do. Everything about this video is great, especially her shout out to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah!


Elmo Gets Laid Off

To be 100% honest, Sesame Street moved to HBO so it’s probably safe if/when PBS gets the ax. That said, when I was a kid we didn’t have HBO- I still don’t have HBO. I watched Sesame Street on PBS like most kids in America do. So for those 2 to 7-years-olds with moms and dads who aren’t millionaires with a +40,000 channel cable package, they’re just S.O.L.

I’m going to stop because the budget cuts to the arts and education have me livid and terrified. If I keep typing this post will quadruple in length. So suffice it to say, we are so against budget cuts.

Maybe as a consolation prize Tr*mp can take us on one of his million dollar golf trips to Florida 😐

Also… Sesame Street: spoofing on Donald Tr*mp Grump before SNL made it cool.


In other news of things I want to list or bring to your attention, I joined a FB group for bloggers that has been very active and supportive. If you’re in the market for something like that you should check out The Peaceful Posse on FB 🙂

So tell me about something you’ve recently discovered or started that you love! Linking up with Lauren and Bre today!

Eat, Drink, and Be Lauren

Things I Never Knew I Never Knew pt. 2

While I consider myself to be intelligent and educated, there are obviously a bazillion things that I don’t know. And then there are a handful of things that I should know, but apparently don’t. (Like this story.) For your entertainment, I’ve collected a few of those recent revelations.

…we all understand the use of this gif, right?

. . .

‘The Beatles’ is a pun. Thank you, Chrissy Teigen.

. . .

The song “Fancy” by Reba McEntire/Bobbie Gentry is about a prostitute (and overcoming poverty). Which makes me feel weird when I groove to it…

. . .

Compton is not in New York. Or Detroit. It’s in LA. I HAD NO IDEA.

. . .

The song ‘Moondance’ is by Van Morrison. I definitely thought it was some old Sinatra song…

. . .

And there we go- a handful of things I should’ve know, that I didn’t, but I do now. I try to keep a running list of this stuff on my phone because every day is a lesson for me, ha. But I’m sure I’m not the only one… right…?

What’s something you recently learned that (you think) should’ve been common knowledge?

You May All Go to Hell & I Will Go To Texas

Last month K and I flew to Texas for a statewide music educators convention. It took a while, but I’ve finally found the time to recap our trip. This is a lengthy one 😉

Backstory: At the end of 2016 K’s business underwent some changes and I was brought on full time to oversee administrative duties and customer/vendor communication. I’d been to trade shows and conventions in the past with the company (Indiana 2014), but I had no idea how to sell our product. We had a show in Cleveland the week before Texas so I observed K in the booth and studied the carts but I was still nervous about my first time on the floor. Obviously that didn’t matter because we were headed to San Antonio regardless.

Freighting our equipment to Texas would’ve cost thousands upon thousands of dollars so K asked his welder (who also happens to be his dad, Jeff) to drive the product down in a box truck. I was uncomfortable sending his dad alone on such a long trip so I suggested K’s mom, Gail, take the week off from her job and they make it a San Antonio vacation. It ended up working out perfectly and they hit the road Monday morning. We flew out Tuesday morning.

We landed mid-afternoon, caught a taxi to our hotel, and checked on the box truck’s progress. Since they were still a few hours away we decided to unpack, check in to the exhibition hall, and wander around the River Walk for a place to eat. Conveniently, both our hotel and the convention center were right along the RW.

We stopped for dinner at a place called The County Line. The servers were a bit snippy but it wasn’t at us fortunately. After dinner we walked back to the hotel and met up with Jeff and Gail as they arrived. We got them all checked in and settled, then retired for the night since Wednesday was going to be a work day.


On Wednesday we spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon loading into the convention hall and setting up the display booth.

Around 2 pm we finished and took a(n accidental) walk all the way around the River Walk loop. We stopped into The Iron Cactus for a late lunch/early dinner, then I dragged everyone to street level to visit The Alamo.

We caught the landmark just before closing so we only spent 20 minutes wandering around. 😦

After some Starbucks we wandered back to the hotel and crashed. Set up was exhausting and we hadn’t even begun the convention.


Thursday and Friday was spent in the exhibition hall. (We encouraged Jeff and Gail to go enjoy San Antonio!) The show started at 9 am and ended at 5 pm each day. On Thursday K and I went to dinner alone at Tony Roma’s and finished up the night with some Marble Slab Creamery ice cream. On Friday the four of us went to dinner at Saltgrass with a friend who was in town for the show, too.

On Saturday K woke up with a nasty head cold. I opened the convention at 9 am alone (*gulp*) and K joined me for a few hours later on that morning. Thank goodness his parents were there. They brought him some meds and soup since we couldn’t leave the booth. K decided to call it a day around 12:30 pm. Fortunately it was a short day and the hall was set to close at 2 pm. I worked the last hour and a half alone. Needless to say, I was much more confident with the gear by the end of this show!

Tear down and pack up started at 2 pm. K stayed in the hotel room so his dad went to fetch the box truck while his mom and I tore down the entire booth. We worked until 7 pm packing up and loading the truck. It was a mere 87 degrees. Perfect weather… *eyeroll*

I needed some grub so Gail and I wandered down to the River Walk mall for food. I got K some mac n’ cheese and bought myself some Chinese takeout. It was a great way to end our trip… ha.

We flew home Sunday morning while K’s parents drove the box truck to Dallas to the instrument/equipment dealer who’d bought everything in the booth. They dropped off the truck and flew home on Monday, and I picked them up at the airport.


You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas. -Davy Crockett

My last trip to Texas was after my freshman year of high school so it was nice to go back and explore San Antonio. I’m sad K got sick but his immune system is predictably crappy. After two weeks of travel and some airplane rides I wasn’t surprised when he started hacking.

Overall, it was fun. If K hadn’t hired me I wouldn’t get to tag along/help on these trips, so I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel and hangout with him. The industry in which we work is a fun one- we always run into old friends or meet new people during these shows. There’s rarely a dull moment.

Do you get to travel for work? (Do you enjoy it?) Have you ever been to San Antonio? It seems to be the only Texas city I visit!

Goals on Goals on Goals

Hi ya! We’re tackling three things in this post today:

  • 2017 goals check in
  • Winter goals recap
  • Spring goals reveal

2017 “Resolutions”

(Original post here.)

Be Healthy.
(As in eat better & exercise.) Ehh… not doing so hot here. We’re eating at home more often, but exercise has been a complete no-go.

Feel Less Guilty About Downtime.
(Less guilt when lounging/reading/unwinding.) I think I’m getting better here. We’ve be so busy all year so I can’t quite get a handle on the balance of responsibilities vs. relaxation.

Read more.
(Last year I read 25 books. This year I’m aiming for 40.) According to Goodreads I’ve read 9 books this year and I’m two ahead of schedule. Cool!

Become a Morning Person.
(Less snooze button and rushing, more consistency and chill.) HA. No. Still working on it. I just love sleeping (in).

Get on Schedule.
(As in meal planning, cleaning, dog maintenance, etc.) I’ve been great about a meal and blog schedule. Now it’s time to focus on cleaning and home maintenance.

Winter Goals

(The original list appears here in this monstrous post.)

  • Make a meal planning journal and, like, actually do it
    We’ve been REALLY good about meal planning! Every once in a while I skip a day or we opt for take out, but so far I’ve been making lists and planning meals each and every week!
  • Wash all window treatments & cushion slips
    Partially done… Whoops.
  • Write thank you notes for Christmas gifts
  • Get Lylee on a walk schedule again
  • Clean the junk out of the basement
  • Hire someone to come in and clean the carpets

So overall I did pretty terrible with the seasonal goals. Ha. I’ll be rolling most of these over into spring I guess…

Spring Goals

  • Wash cushion slips
  • Scrub grease build-up off cabinets
  • Replace/fix water heater
  • Get Ly on a walk schedule again
  • Clean junk out of basement
  • Hire someone to come & clean the carpets
  • Finish 3 year scrapbook
  • Order pics for year 4

These are all doable AND borderline necessary. So… here’s to hoping I get them crossed off!

Linking up with Sara & Steph (tomorrow)! What are your spring goals?

Life According to Steph

What I Read… vol. 3

This was a good month for reading. (Finally! ) I finished up The Lunar Chronicles, I checked a few books off Erin’s Challenge, and I started into Meyer’s newest novel, Heartless. Today I’m linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books!

What_I_Read_blog

As you know, here’s the rating system…

Book Rating

and I include a brief summary, why I picked up the book, and what I thought. Then I give my oh-so-valuable opinion on whether or not you should read it and why. Images link to their GoodReads page (let’s be friends!).

. . .

Winter by Marissa Meyer | ★★★★★/5 winter
Summary: The fourth and final book in the Lunar Chronicles… It’s now or never as Cinder, Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, and Iko bring the battle to evil Queen Levana’s doorstep. Add a crazy lunar princess (Winter) and a stubborn but loyal royal guard (Jacin). What will it cost for goodness and kindness to overcome manipulation and power? | Why I Read It: Because I’m obsessed with this series. Duh. | What I Thought: My heart has shattered into a million pieces. Not because this story was sad, but because upon closing the back cover I immediately missed my friends. Originally I thought +800 pages sounded intimidating. When I got to page 300 I wondered how there was more to the story. Around page 600 things were getting cray. At 823 I found myself wishing for a thousand more pages and a million more words to keep the adventure going. Yes, my friends, this series is that wonderful. It’s fantasy and YA and the retelling of several fairy tales. If ANY of those things appeal to you, go start on this series. Adventure, romance, strong women and men, good verses evil, self-discovery, fantastic world development – this series has it all. I am devastated it’s over. (If you don’t believe me go look at Goodreads– all the books rate above 4 stars.)
You Should Read It Because… you enjoy a good futuristic/fantasy story. Actually, I never read futuristic stories and I loved this series. It was similar to HP in terms of friendship and growth and overcoming evil. If you love a good series, go read these right now.

(Other LC reviews: Cinder | Scarlet | Cress )

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer | ★★★★/5 stars-above
This book was a collection of 9 short stories surrounding the four main books of The Lunar Chronicles. It’s easiest to sum them up individually…
The Keeper: A short backstory about Scarlet’s grand-mère and the role she played in raising and encouraging a Lunar revolution.
Glitches [reviewed here]
The Queen’s Army [reviewed here] *
Carswell’s Guide to Being Luck [reviewed here] *
After Sunshine Passes By: When we meet Cress she’s locked in a satellite, monitoring (read: spying) on Earth. But how did she get there…?
The Princess & The Guard*: Winter is such a complicated character- her childhood in the palace and her relation with Jacin is revealed and explained in this tale.
The Little Android [reviewed here]
The Mechanic: In Cinder we learned how she and Kai met… but only from her point of view. This short story follows Kai’s experience in the busy marketplace that day.
Something Old, Something New *: Time has passed and the Rampion crew is back together on Earth. This reads like an extended epilogue.
What I Thought: I love these back stories on all the characters. Some are a little long and some seem slightly unnecessary (since the books cover so much), but I can’t get enough of this series (obviously ), so it’s ok. My favorite ones are asterisk-ed.
You Should Read It Because… You’re reading/have read the four main books. Marissa Meyer recommends reading the books/stories in this order.

Ok. I’m done talking about The Lunar Chronicles. For a minute.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | ★★★/5 a-wrinkle-in-time
(Listened to on Audible; Narrated by Hope Davis)
Summary: After their father’s suspicious disappearance, 12-year-old Meg Murray and her youngest brother Charles Wallace come across the path of three odd women: Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Witch. Together with their friend Calvin, the three children are whisked away and sent on a journey to find Mr. Murray. | Why I Read It: I had the book as a kid, but I never read it. I picked it up this time to fulfill a category in Erin’s reading challenge. | What I Thought: I had no idea this was considered a “children’s classic” and I didn’t realize that L’Engle was a Christian writer. Neither of those things matter in the grand scheme of this review, though. I listened to this book all in one shot while driving from Fairfax, VA to my town in Ohio. It was entertaining and it kept my interest the entire drive, but it didn’t blow my mind or change my life. I really liked Charles Wallace and I thought the overall message of the story was sweet and simple, but there were things that seemed too convenient and moments that dragged on just a bit. It’s targeted at kids and it’s considered a classic, so reviewing it is kind of tough.
You Should Read It Because… you enjoy children’s literature or Christian-based (fantasy) story-telling. Meg was a flawed but strong female protagonist which is rare for a religious sci-fi novel from 1962. Also, if you’re a strict book-before-movie person you might want to check this out. They’re currently filming this with Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, & Oprah Winfrey.

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer, Illustrated by Douglas Holgate | ★★★★★/5
Summary: With tension between Luna and Earth still high, the once-servant-turned-hero android Iko volunteers to take on the rogue hybrid-wolf packs plaguing Earth. | Why I Read It: This is Meyer’s first graphic novel and takes place after Winter. | What I Thought: Aces and stars, I love this series. I loved reading this in Iko’s voice. I loved getting a follow-up with each character and getting to see Holgate’s/Meyer’s illustrations. (I was nervous they wouldn’t match my mental image, but they did for the most part.) I loved how light this story felt, but at the same time I experienced fear and anger and joy for the characters. The only thing I hated is how long I have to wait for volume 2… *sigh*
You Should Read It Because… you read all the other books in The Lunar Chronicles and you loved them. I recommend reading the series before cracking open this graphic novel.

So…. here’s the update with Erin’s Challenge:

| 5 points | Freebie: Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber
| 10 points | Starts with the letter “W”: Winter by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | Six words in the title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
| 15 points | Has a (mostly) green cover: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
| 20 points | A homonym in the title: The One by Kiera Cass
| 20 points | By your favorite author: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
| 25 points | Set in the city/town/state/territory/county/province where you live: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
| 30 points | A “Rory Gilmore” book: Atonement by Ian McEwan
| 30 points | From a genre that you’ve never read/rarely read (*thriller*): The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
| 35 points | With time travel: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

I’m at 85 out of 200 points. I won’t be attempting the bonus round this time, fyi 😉 I’ve got a month and a half left to finish!

What’d you read this month?

Life According to Steph

THIRTY YEARS OLD

On Sunday my favorite human is turning 30 years old. THIRTY YEARS OLD. I met him when he was 18. That blows my mind.

Once again I was going to share the details of our Texas trip on here today. But then I decided I should write something about Kyle. But I don’t really know what to say…

I often mention K on this blog so there’s not much I haven’t said. (This birthday post is one of my favorites.) Today I’m making him answer some questions in honor of his birthday. Spoiler alert: He dodged most of them.

We’ll start with the hardest question: Peach pie or yellow cake with chocolate frosting?
It depends. Just a generic pie and cake, the yellow cake with chocolate frosting. If it’s your grandma’s peach pie, I’d pick that.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last 30 years?
That’s too deep.
Answer it.
What the hell. (He’s technically not being a smartass… A few weeks ago we realized that we live our lives in a very “what the hell” kind of way. I’ll blog about that some other day. Essential when an opportunity presents itself we say “what the hell” and go for it.)

What age has been your favorite?
My favorite pizza is JNG.
That’s not an acceptable answer.
It IS an acceptable answer. That’s not an acceptable question.

If you didn’t play drums what instrument would you play?
Probably nothing.
You’re so boring.
I didn’t ask you to ask me these…

Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Enzo.
That’s not an answer.
I don’t knooooow. I’m not a casting agent… I guess, with my language, Samuel L. Jackson.

Advice for a 20 year old?
Drop out of school and start a business.
That’s not good advice, dear.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don’t know.
You could at least be nice and say with me.
Well, yeah. Duh.

circa 2010

Annnnnnnd there you have it. *eyeroll*

So happy birthday, Boo. I can’t wait to see what this decade brings. You can accomplish anything ❤︎ I love you.

                                          – A